We find many scriptures which are said to be authored by first Shankaracharya. But when we go through them we find it that the author cannot be Sankara for some obvious reason mentioned below. Why and how is then he acknowledged as the author ?

In a well known stotra "Devi aparadha kshamapana stotram" we find that author says that he has become very old as he has crossed 85 years so wants to take refuge in the goddess. But we know from various biographies that Sankara lived only for 30-40 years and not 85 !!

परित्यक्ता देवा विविधविधसेवाकुलतया मया पञ्चाशीतेरधिकमपनीते तु वयसि। इदानीं चेन्मातस्तव यदि कृपा नापि भविता निरालम्बो लम्बोदरजननि कं यामि शरणम्॥५॥

O, Paravati Ma, Mother who has given birth to Ganesh, while I do prayers to other gods, I remain busy with different kinds of works, all gods have left me because I 'm eighty-five years, and I can not give them all the prayers. I am despaired and I can not expect any help from them. If you also leave me at this time where shall I go for support except to you?

In a famous hymn "Subramanya Bhujangam" the author mentions about blessing his wife and children. But we know that sankara never married or have any children.

kaLathram suthA bandhuvarga pashurvA, naro vAtha nAree gruhe ye madheeyA yajantho namanthah stuvantho bhavantham, smaran thascha te santu sarve kumAra | 28

{Oh Lord Kumara! Let my wife, children, relatives, friends, other men and women in our household, venerate Thee! Praise Thee! And always be absorbed in Thy thoughts!}.

Apart from this, there are many texts whose author is said to be Sankara but the real authorship is still disputed by the mutts. I think in Yoga taravali the author says he achieved enlightenment by following path of yoga.


Sarva Vedanta Sidhaanta Saar Sangraha

These are some of the texts which are NOT accepted by Sankara mutts as genuine. So now we should understand that they have denied the authorship because of some strong reasons and not because they were "not able to understand the intellectual meaning".

Question-Is Shankaracharya wrongly attributed as author to many hymns?

  • @Pandya I am asking about stotras not prakarana grantha . Feb 25, 2017 at 13:36
  • So u mean he shud mention the exact age in which he was composing?Is it too difficult for u to think that here he is writing on behalf of an old man who has no other than mother goddess to look after him.?
    – Rickross
    Feb 25, 2017 at 14:13
  • This conversation has been moved to chat.
    – The Destroyer
    Feb 28, 2017 at 9:21
  • To make a general broad statement that there are 'many' is not a good question. You should cite specific hymns that are questionable, and because some may be questionable does not mean that all or many are. I am sure there are some that questionable, but unless one is both a Sanskrit scholar and knowledgeable of Sankara's writing style, it is difficult for anyone on this forum to answer. The fog of time means that no clear answer can be given. Feb 28, 2017 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


I will show that the basic argument which you have used in assuming that Adi Shankara's many stotrams are incorrectly attributed to him is erroneous.

First of all a saint,rishi or an acharya don't compose stotrams only for their benefit.

The basic idea is that those who will read them in future will be benefited.This thing becomes evident from the phalasrutis of various stotrams as well.

From phalasruti of Adi Shankara's Kanakadhara Stotram :

Those who glorify with this Hymn, everyday, ... 18.2: ... the Ramaa (Devi Lakshmi) Who is Trayimayi (The embodiment of the Three Vedas) and Mother of the Three Worlds, ... 18.3: ... will be filled with abundant Virtues, and be blessed with the destiny of very Venerable persons, 18.4: They will become Wise in the World by Your Grace awakening their Wisdom.

So,its evident that here Shankara is composing the stotram for all those who are stricken with poverty.

Similarly, from the phalasruti of Sri Vyasa Krutha Bhagavati Stotram :

6.1: This Stotram (Hymn) is Composed by Sage Vyasa, 6.2: Whoever Recites this Stotram Regularly after becoming Bodily and Mentally Clean ,... 6.3: ...in his Home or Anywhere with Pure Devotion to the Goddess, 6.4: Will Please the Bhagavati Devi Always.

So,this is the real motive behind composing stotrams.Mahamunis like Vyasa don't compose stotrams for themselves but for the benefits of common people like me.Similar is the case with Adi Shankara.

In the Subhramanya Bhujangam Adi Shankara says:

2.1: (Salutations to Sri Subramanya) I know neither Words, nor their Meanings O Lord, 2.2: And I know neither Poetry, nor Prose, but

So,are we to take this literally ?

Even in Bhavani Ashtakam(another composition of Adi Shankara) we find the following verses:

Bhavaabdhaav-Apaare Mahaa-Duhkha-Bhiiru Papaata Prakaamii Pralobhii Pramattah | Ku-Samsaara-Paasha-Prabaddhah Sada-[A]ham Gatis-Tvam Gatis-Tvam Tvam-Ekaa Bhavaani ||2||

2.1: In this Ocean of Worldly Existence which is Endless, I am full of Sorrow and Very much Afraid, 2.2: I have Fallen with Excessive Desires and Greed, Drunken and Intoxicated, 2.3: Always Tied in the Bondage of this miserable Samsara (worldly existence), 2.4: You are my Refuge, You Alone are my Refuge, Oh Mother Bhavani.

Na Jaanaami Daanam Na Ca Dhyaana-Yogam Na Jaanaami Tantram Na Ca Stotra-Mantram | Na Jaanaami Puujaam Na Ca Nyaasa-Yogam Gatis-Tvam Gatis-Tvam Tvam-Ekaa Bhavaani ||3||

Meaning: 3.1: Neither do I know Charity, nor Meditation and Yoga, 3.2: Neither do I know the practice of Tantra, nor Hymns and Prayers, 3.3: Neither do I know Worship, nor dedication to Yoga, 3.4: You are my Refuge, You Alone are my Refuge, Oh Mother Bhavani.

5.1: I performed Bad Deeds, associated with Bad Company, cherished Bad Thoughts, have been a Bad Servant, 5.2: I did not perform my Traditional Duties, deeply engaged in Bad Conducts, 5.3: My eyes Saw with Bad Intentions, tongue always Spoke Bad Words, 5.4: You are my Refuge, You Alone are my Refuge, Oh Mother Bhavani.

अनाथो दरिद्रो जरारोगयुक्तो महाक्षीणदीनः सदा जाड्यवक्त्रः । विपत्तौ प्रविष्टः प्रनष्टः सदाहं गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि ॥८॥

Anaatho Daridro Jaraa-Roga-Yukto Mahaa-Kssiinna-Diinah Sadaa Jaaddya-Vaktrah | Vipattau Pravissttah Pranassttah Sadaaham Gatis-Tvam Gatis-Tvam Tvam-Ekaa Bhavaani ||8|

8.1: I am Helpless, Poor, Afflicted by Old Age and Disease, 8.2: Very Weak and Miserable, always with a Pale Countenance, 8.3: Fallen Asunder, Always surrounded by and Lost in Troubles and Miseries, 8.4: You are my Refuge, You Alone are my Refuge, Oh Mother Bhavani.

Its obvious that Adi Shankara is talking on behalf of all those people who may have committed sins and now seeking surrender in Divine Mother and not for himself.So,even if he is talking about age in some stotrams, we should interpret it like the way i have.

As the final reference i am using Durga Stava Raja(the king of all prayers to Durga) also known as Durga Apaduddhakraka Stotram composed by Lord Shiva himself.This stotram is found in many Agama texts like Rudra Yamala,Viswa Sara Tantram and in Sri Siddheswari Tantram.

Take this verse from the stotram;

अरण्ये रणे दारुणे शुत्रुमध्ये जले सङ्कटे राजग्रेहे प्रवाते । त्वमेका गतिर्देवि निस्तार हेतुर्नमस्ते जगत्तारिणि त्राहि दुर्गे ॥ ४॥

You are the only refuge and the boat that saves, Me from the forest, war, danger and from midst of enemies, Me from fire, ocean, from enemy territory and from forts of kings, And so salutations to you who saves the universe, With a request,”Please protect me oh, Durga”.

So,are we to take this literally as if Lord Shiva is asking for himself all these?Obviously not.Here Lord Shiva is asking on behalf of those who are inflicted with those dangers and who will be reading the stotram in times of such Apadas(dangers).

  • You are again talking same thing. IF something is mentioned in Phalashruti then there will not be any such issues. If any stotra makes some specifications in the phala shruti it is very clear. Now you are saying that these things should not be taken literally. So we again need bhashya for these then whats point of writing such hymns which are beyond scope of lay people to understand ? Feb 26, 2017 at 9:56
  • @RakeshJoshi In Nirvana Shatakam, Adi Shankara says "Chidananda roopah Shivoham Shivoham". Who is speaking here? Adi Shankara or a person named Shiva?
    – The Destroyer
    Feb 26, 2017 at 9:58
  • @TheDestroyer and Rickross, there are many texts which are rejected by the mutts also . Kindly have a look at my updated question. Feb 26, 2017 at 10:02
  • @TheDestroyer in Nirvana shatakam, the author is speaking that "I am the blissfull shiva" Feb 26, 2017 at 10:04

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